The north-eastern coast of the Saronic Gulf, stretching 30 miles from the port of Piraeus in the north west to Cape Sounio in the south east, has the potential to be one of the world’s best for high end tourism, both on shore and afloat. A predominately northerly breeze during the main holiday season gives plenty of shelter for yachts in the many marinas and anchorages, while Athens airport is only a few miles to the north. The area includes some of the more salubrious suburbs of Athens, yet much of it has been subject to only sporadic low-grade development, or is blighted by former industrial development.
While the coast is already home to a number of well run marinas, one of which was built to house the sailing events of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, there’s clearly much more that could be achieved. That’s set to change, thanks to a number of on-going projects, collectively worth more than €10 billion, that seek to turn this location into one of Europe’s finest destinations. Dozens of projects currently in progress include luxury resorts, casinos, holiday villas, shopping centres, business hubs and top-quality marinas.
The Temple of Poseidon at Sounio is a 2,500-year-old monument that marks the sharp transition between the sheltered waters of the Saronic Gulf and the strong winds of the open Aegean.
Although average real estate prices Greece have fallen by around 40 per cent over the past decade, prices have soared for coastal sites in the Athenian suburbs of Kavouri, Voula and Varkiza. Much of the investment will be in the long-awaited €7 billion Hellinikon project that will see the former international airport site transformed into a world-class destination.
Smaller projects that are currently underway include a major update of the Astir Palace, on the Laimos peninsula near Vouliagmeni, where a significant upgrade of the marina, which can take superyachts of 30 metres or more, is taking place. At the same time the extensive site is being developed with with 14 exclusive residences, plus restaurants, bars and shops, as well as cultural, sports and conference facilities. The project is slated for completion in June next year, in time for the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum.
It’s hard to imagine this anchorage is only 16 miles from the main Athens international airport.
The sailing area gives easy access to the protected islands of Aegina, Poros, Hydra in the Saronic and Argolic Gulfs, as well as to the Corinth Canal, which is roughly 35 miles to the west. To the east, are the windier Aegean islands including, Kea, Kythnos and Serifos, as well as the rest of the Cyclades group.
While the majority of yachting facilities in the country remain relatively basic, this area offers the prospect of also being able to enjoy top-notch services and excellent cuisine in a stunning setting with first-class transport links.
Caption: The Temple of Poseidon at Sounio is a 2,500-year-old monument that marks the sharp transition between the sheltered waters of the Saronic Gulf and the strong winds of the open Aegean.